Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday in Vienna

One of the things that I've wanted to see in Vienna was the "Boys Choir." So, this morning I went to the Hofburg Palace.

Hofburg Palace

And, I would have enjoyed the singing (although I am generally not that into noise), but I was quite annoyed by the end, on account of all the sermon-y stuff and bishop-y type dudes, who were waving around fancy things. And I am sure they were going on about the Jesus. In German. I mean, yeah, dudes can be fancy and swing around smoke all they like, but I'm not really that interested in sitting through it. Plus, I was crammed in the middle of a million people who just discovered their phone cameras, but have no idea how to operate phones or cameras. So between the ishutter clicks and flashes, thinking that fallen for the old bait-and-switch (i.e. they lure you in with the singing kids and then you're stuff watching this procession), and my increasingly rumbbly stomach, I got a bit cranky.

Closed captioning of the fanciness.

Which, I am certain had to do with this fellow. 

 And then I went to Cafe Central and my life changed.

Because you can never un-taste this:


Layers of the airiest, thinnest, crispiest pastry, topped with carmelized sugar (that had the crunch-like top of a proper creme brule), between layers of a vanilla custard that you would shank your momma for. Even on this holiest of mothers' days. Also, the red thing in the background is a hazelnut chocolate that comes with your coffee (or tea, in this case), lest you get peckish.

And to date, my biggest life failure is this:

Too. Full.

Oh, and to be clear, there was no bait-and-switch. When I got home, I looked at the very same website I had used earlier to get the location of the choir, and it was clearly titled "HOLY MASS with the Vienna Boys Choir at Hofburgkapelle."

And that was Sunday.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Austrian hot yoga made me cry

In an effort to be social and keep active, I decided to try a Bikram yoga class. I saw a blog write up about a studio in Vienna which sounded really good (here is the link, if you are interested:, and since I enjoy Hatha yoga, I thought I'd give it a go.

So, I did. Except, it didn't go well.

Some foreshadowing which should have tipped me off to the impending 90 min of hell:

1. The yoga studio is set to 38 degrees Celsius. Which is hot. And sweaty. And I am hot and sweaty all the time anyway. Of course I knew it was going to be hot, but thought it would be manageable. I survived Madagascar heat (over 40 degrees C daily and over 50 degrees on especially hot days), right?

2. Upon arrival, the instructor (the Austrian yogi version of Nurse Ratched) said that the most important thing about the class was not to leave. If it was too intense, she said, sit down and rest. But DON'T leave. "NR" also said not to drink any water. A tiny sip was ok, she conceded, but only a sip and only if absolutely necessary.

3. Oh, and I have a heart thing. My heart condition is no big deal (inappropriate sinus tachycardia), its just  a bit fast, which means my blood doesn't move around as efficiently. Mostly, my ticker is totally solid, but sometimes it gets really poundy, which lets me know its time to chill.

You can probably guess how things unfolded, but I am going to tell you anyhow, because this is a blog post and that is the point.

Mins 1-45:  I got really uncomfortably hot and sweat out a few buckets. As an aside, NR conducted the class in German, which if I am being totally honest, I find to be a very ugly language to listen to. Plus, the way native German speakers talk is quite abrasive. They are overly loud and commanding, and make a lot of noises which require excessive saliva, none of which I particularly like.

Mins 30-60: My heart got super poundy and I felt miserable. I sat for 15 min or so, but didn't feel better. My face turned an interesting shade of purple and I could feel my pulse in my eyeballs. The heat was just too oppressive and my poor ticker, try as it may, couldn't catch up.

Min 61: I decided to leave.

Min 62: NR shamed/bullied me into staying and told me (and everyone else) that I looked fine and to sit back down. And in my weakened state, I obeyed.

Min 63: I sat back down and cried.

Min 64-89: I continued to sit there, like an idiot, staring longingly at the door (which was blocked), sweating profusely, trying to catch my breath, and willing myself not to faint or have a heart attack. I was also completely parched and my hands and feet were swelling at an alarming rate.

Min 90: Hallelujah! I very shakily bolted for the door made it to the lobby. Ate some fruit, got my wits about me, stole a coconut water, drank the coconut water, and then (finally) walked out. I didn't actually mean to steal the water, but think it was a bit more delicious because of the theft and all.

And that was my entry to Austrian Bikrim yoga.

I think an extra pastry is in order today.

For shiz.